Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beefy Levinson's miscellania

A rare steak washed down with a glass of eggs is truly the breakfast of champions. I've been on a diet of meat, eggs, butter, and a little V8 so I don't get scurvy for less than a week and I already feel about ten times better.

I'm not as pessimistic as Bonald, but the Synod deserves the subtitle "The Heretics Strike Back." This is the last ride for the first generation of progressive crazies, and the heretic Cardinal Walter Kasper is making the best of it.
Kasperism is thus more akin to the modernist heresy than to Protestantism.  The modernists reinterpreted statements about God to be statements about man’s religious experience, and the Kasperites take this immanentist turn to an even further and more degrading extreme, reducing religion to a system of wish fulfillment, of the expression and manipulation of feelings.  It is the ultimate heresy.
Kasper says that this debate is on a level lower than doctrine, the level of pastoral policy.  In fact, it is on a level higher than doctrine, the level of deciding what type of “language game” doctrine is presumed to be.  To be blunt, is religion supposed to be serious?  Do we really mean what we say in the creed or the sacraments?  Or is it all just play-acting?
If Francis hadn't already made his own preferences clear through his embrace of Kasper, his homily for the opening of the Synod should put all doubts to rest:
The temptation to greed is ever present. We encounter it also in the great prophecy of Ezekiel on the shepherds (cf. ch. 34), which Saint Augustine commented upon in one his celebrated sermons which we have just reread in the Liturgy of the Hours. Greed for money and power. And to satisfy this greed, evil pastors lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they themselves do not lift a finger to move (cf. Mt 23:4)
What I expect to happen is that the Synod will eventually publish a nice flowery document that formally upholds doctrine if read a certain way, but bishops' conferences will be given greater leeway in granting annulments and allowing public adulterers to receive communion. Traditionalists will scream bloody murder as usual, while conservative Catholics will praise the document as the bestest most wonderfullest restatement of the Church's doctrine on marriage ever, carefully ignoring what's happening on the ground.

I suppose the best case scenario at this point would be Humanae Vitae redux: the document doubles down on traditional praxis, the progressives scream bloody murder and give communion to public adulterers anyway while Rome impotently wrings its hands and asks them if they could pretty please stop doing that.

The other night at LifeTeen the topic was the Bible, specifically why you should read it more. One of the kids asked me a good question: "So if I'm reading the Bible on my own, how do I know I'm not engaging in private judgment? Like, how do I know if my interpretation is the right one or is in line with what the Church says about it?" I made the following analogy: suppose you want to play basketball. You'll need some kind of court with clearly defined lines. If you stay within the lines, you have a lot of freedom to decide how you're going to play. If you stray outside the lines, you get a foul or you're no longer playing basketball.

We actually do have a lot of freedom in how we approach Scripture. The "lines" we have to stay inside pretty much only say, "We are wrong if our interpretation contradicts Magisterial teaching or Tradition." This necessarily implies that we need at least a passing familiarity with both Tradition and Magisterial teaching. You have to put in the work to be a good Catholic. Fortunately, for all of the evils it brings with it, the internet has made it easier than ever before. Imagine if Fulton Sheen had had the entire Summa downloaded onto his smart phone.

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